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Using Moments of Inertia to Determine the Positions of Atlatl Weights on a Throwing Board

Author(s): Ellery Frahm

Year: 1999

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J. Whittaker: Unpublished class paper, Anthropology Dept, Grinnell College. Moment of inertia is the tendency of an object to maintain its path of rotation and increases with the mass of the object and the distance from the axis of rotation. Thus a weight on a swinging atlatl stabilizes its motion and should increase accuracy. The greater the weight and the further from the handle, the more the effect, but the force necessary to swing the atlatl also increases.

Using 5 prehistoric atlatls found with weights attached, moments of inertia can be calculated, finding a narrow range. This "optimal" range of moment of inertia can then be used to model the most likely position of weights of other forms and sizes on atlatls.

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Using Moments of Inertia to Determine the Positions of Atlatl Weights on a Throwing Board. Ellery Frahm. Grinnell College. 1999 ( tDAR id: 423419)


Atlatl Hunting Weapon

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): EXARC Experimental Archaeology Collection Manager

Record Identifiers

ExArc Id(s): 10231


Rights & Attribution: The information in this record was originally compiled by Dr. Roeland Paardekooper, EXARC Director.

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America